From Tejas fighter to bullet-proof jackets, Indian Army gets boost as DRDO develops indigenous tech for arms


A number of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed weapon systems, platforms, dual use equipment have been accepted and inducted in the Indian armed forces and paramilitary forces. Technology developed by Defence Materials and Stores Research and Development Establishment (DMSRDE), a Kanpur-based premier laboratory of DRDO, for bullet-proof jackets was recently handed over to Kanpur-based company MKU Ltd. This technology is challenging and one of the most significant matured personal protection systems developed by DRDO among the various GSQRs of Indian Army meeting NIJ III+ Standard, which refers to ballistic resistance of a body armour. DRDO has urged the private sector MKU to maintain a strict vigil on the quality of the bullet-proof jackets and to collaborate with DRDO to absorb the technologies developed by it.

Some of the notable successful tests completed and inducted are Tejas fighters, Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) System, Akash Weapon System, SONAR systems, Varunastra Torpedo, Bharani Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) Recce Vehicle, AGNI-V, Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM), Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM), NAG, Advanced Towed Array Gun (ATAG), Wheeled Armoured platform (WhAP), RUSTOM-II MALE Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, etc.

R&DE (Engrs), a premier system engineering laboratory under Armament & Combat Engineering (ACE) cluster of DRDO has recently undertaken the design and development of Trawl System for the minefield area in the battle zone to meet the operational requirements of Indian Army.

The indigenous developed Trawl System is employed for breaching land mines and creating a vehicle safe lane, through a minefield for the advancing columns of mechanised forces in combat zone. The equipment consists of Trawl roller, track width mine plough and electro-magnetic device (EMD), which identifies all types of mines usually encountered by the battle tank in such a scenario. The Trawl System developed by DRDO is capable of breaching a variety of land mines, including passive and active influence mines.

The Trawl system recently crossed a major milestone with the successful completion of blast trials in collaboration with HEMRL Pune, which demonstrated the survivability of the equipment when subjected to successive series of blast directly underneath it. The fieldable prototype of the Trawl System is in the final stage of realisation and would be shortly ready for conduct of user evaluation trials by the Army. The indigenous development of Trawls by DRDO is an important step towards achieving self-reliance in the area of critical military equipment under ‘Make in India’ initiative and would result in saving of precious foreign exchange for the country.

Recently, the final Development Flight Trials of Astra – Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) were successfully conducted over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur, Odisha. A total of seven trials were conducted against Pilotless Target Aircrafts (PTA) successfully. This effort for building a state-of-the-art BVRAAM by DRDO, together with Indian Air Force (IAF) has completed the development phase of the weapon system successfully. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has played a role in modifying the aircraft for weapon integration. More than 50 public and private industries have contributed in building the Astra weapon system. S Venugopal, programme director, led the launch operations and flight trials along with the teams from multiple organisations.

After a successful trial of the Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) Prospina back in June 2017, the missile has passed its final trial in Rajasthan’s desert range recently before its induction into the army. The DRDO successfully tested the flight of India’s indigenously developed third generation ATGM, also known as ‘Nag’, twice in the Rajasthan test range. The Nag project, now re-launched under the name Prospina, is a 4-km range missile system incorporated with most advanced technologies. The missile has high resolution Imaging Infrared (IIR) Seeker, which can sense heat or infrared signals in three different thermal scenarios.

Goa’s nascent food processing industry could be heading for a technology boost with latest technologies in preservation and packaging coming in from DRDO. According to Shashi Bala Singh, head of Life science cluster, DRDO, “The organisation is targeting about 100 technology transfers to Goan units for processing of local agricultural produce such as cashew, coconut, jackfruit, etc.”

The technologies were showcased at a two-day industry conclave on food technology organised by the Goa Small Industries Association (GSIA) and directorate of industries, trade and commerce (DITC) in collaboration with the DRDO. While the DRDO is known for its core competencies in various areas of military technology, its life sciences department is involved with developing technology for the armed forces. The technology development is by the DFRL and it is cost effective as the fees charged by the laboratory are Rs 20,000-2.5 lakh.

About 142 processing technologies have been developed by the DFRL in categories such as ready-to-eat foods, energy bars, biscuits, instant food mixes, etc. Companies that are selling food products using defence technology include prominent players such as MTR, ITC, Kohinoor Basmati, PaperBoat, etc.

The Financial Express